“Hopeful Resilience: It’s our outer shell of determined defiance against any challenges we might face, reinforced by a relentless focus on optimism!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
So I have a page on Google that is trending, which is kind of fun!
It seems that one searching for the phrase ‘define 2022‘ ends up in my post from last year, “10 Phrases that Define 2022”
The result is that I seem to be getting several hundred visits to this page per hour as people seek out insight on the year we’ve just been through, maybe for a year-end summary, report, or news story – or who knows what! Regardless, a lot of people are finding the list that I wrote last year around this time!
What’s this list all about? Here’s the genesis of the idea: way back in 2005, I wrote a blog post, “10 Great Words for 2006“, that outlined my thoughts on how to align to an accelerating future. The words were steeped in optimism, brewed in the cauldron of hope. They became a huge hit and formed the basis for many of my keynotes over the years. In fact, the list became the closing segment of many of those talks, as I noticed an increasing number of people writing it down in the audience – so I rolled it into a nice-looking PDF.
It also became a powerful story I tell on stage, and to this day, forms the closing moments of many of my talks.
Since that time, for many years, years, I’ve come up with a similar list of words that can help to define my attitude or approach to the coming year. (I have yet to do one for 2023!) In late 2020, enveloped in the endless uncertainty of the pandemic, I came up with the list of words that I planned to use to guide me into 2021. The words? This is what I came up with:
- reinvent: this will be a core focus for me as I go forward into the year; my life and business are increasingly virtual and I need to continually align with that!
- reflect: to accomplish that, I need to reflect – to continually look back at what I did as part of this reinvention process in 2020, and what I can do better
- rethink: relentlessly question assumptions, challenge habit
- reimagine: my business model, my future, my activities
- redesign: once I reimagine my future, I can redesign it to fit!
- retouch: to do the best job at this, I must continually touch up and refine my work
- rework: that requires constant innovation and challenge
- reinforce: and to get there, I need to reinforce, enhance and accelerate my skills
- realign: your goals, your skills, and your strategies to this new reality
- redo: we all get a redo in 2021 because 2020 was such a challenging, interesting and difficult year!
And so the last year at this time, late in 2021, while the world found itself suddenly immersed in the Omicron wave, I came up with my list for the year to come. My mindset reflected the fact that we seemed to find ourselves trapped in a never-ending cycle of Covid waves, a weary population, and an uncertain environment that implicates the certainty of our future. Hence was born this list – with hopeful resilience being in the very first position.
- hopeful resilience: we’re all developing an outer shell of determined resistance to the complexity of our world, demonstrated by our battle for hope. This leads to …
- relentless optimism: this is both good and bad – we have to fight to be optimistic in the face of unwavering challenges. But we know that this is happening in the context of…
- pervasive volatility: if the last two years have taught us anything, it’s that the unexpected can always be expected – and just when you thought it was over, a volatile future keeps coming back at you … leading us into a mindset of…
- restless determination: in the face of this volatility, we find ourselves determined to try to move forward – until we feel slammed about the head and decide to pull back on our initiative, which causes us to fall into the trap of the…
- sporadic pursuit of opportunity: we find ourselves caught in a pattern in which we are moving forward, and then pause until we decide to start moving forward again until we pause, leading to…
- the paradox of active inaction: causing ourselves to fall into an ongoing trap of action followed by inaction followed by much of the same, so we focus on developing…
- flexibility, adaptability, agility: the only way to battle through the paradox is to adopt a mindset in which we can adapt, move fast, align to new realities, and accept our ever-changing, more complex world… but this becomes difficult because we need to always be…
- focusing on avoiding squandered opportunity: because our focus on what we can do to keep active in the face of uncertainty defines our future, but this can be difficult because we find our optimism shattered because we are…
- battling the presence of incessant incivility: it’s become so bad that people are now disagreeing about the need to agree to disagree and to go against that we must focus on…
- manufacturing personal invincibility: and so my action plan going forward is to continue to feed my factory of optimism.
And today, this list is coming up on the first page of results when someone searches for the phrase “define 2022” on Google. Try it out!
Looking back, that list seemed to serve us well for the year that is ending, and now I must come up with a new list for the year that is yet to come!